The Traditional Korean Story of the Fire Dog and the First Eclipses

Many, many years ago, before time began, there was a country that didn’t have the sun and the moon.  The people wanted more light because they were always in darkness. They had to always carry lanterns.

The country was always in darkness, and the people had to carry lanterns everywhere.
They were so fed up with no sun or moon, they went to see the emperor.

They went to the emperor and told him they wanted him to get the sun and the moon for them.  The emperor agreed and made a decree that whoever would come forward to get the sun and the moon for them would have a great reward.  No one came forward.

Eventually, the fire dog came forward and volunteered to try to bring the sun and the moon.

Finally, the fire dog came forward.  He volunteered to try to bring the sun and the moon for the people, and the emperor agreed that he could.

The wind came to talk to the fire dog.
The wind blew and blew very hard, but the fire dog didn’t give up!

The fire dog set off on his quest.  The wind came to the fire dog and said, “If you want to get to the sun, you will have to survive a wind storm.”  The fire dog agreed.  He pushed his way through the wind storm, and finally, the wind gave up.

The rain poured hard, but the fire dog thought of the people in the dark country and didn’t give up.
The fire dog climbed the mountain toward the sun.

Next, the wind said, “If you want to get to the sun, you will also have to endure a big rain storm when you get close to the mountain.”  The fire dog said he was more than happy to endure a rain storm for the people of his country.  When he got close to the mountains, the rain pelted down hard!  It came down in buckets!  It was hard, but the fire dog thought about the people in his country and had compassion on them because they lived in darkness, and it gave him strength, and he pushed on.  Finally, the rain stopped, and he climbed the mountain toward the sun.

He jumped at the sun and took a bite, but it was so hot he had to let go!

When he got to the top of the mountain, he jumped at the sun!  He tried to bite at the sun to drag it home with him.  However, the sun was so hot he had to let go! He burned his mouth, so he didn’t try again.

He jumped at the moon and tried to take a bite, but the moon was so cold, he had to let go!

He decided that maybe it was smarter to get the moon than the sun. He climbed another mountain and jumped up to the moon.  As he took a bite, it was just too cold, and he couldn’t hold on.  He felt defeated!  He couldn’t get the sun because it was too hot, and he couldn’t get the moon because it was too cold.  He decided to go home.

He decided to go home.
He was so tired that he went to sleep as soon as he got there.
When he woke up, lightening came from his mouth, and the people were happy!

When he got home, he was completely exhausted!  He fell fast asleep!  When he woke up, he opened his mouth, and lightening came from his mouth.  The people were thrilled!  They thought he had brought back the sun and the moon, and their country would have light!

He couldn’t stop vomiting the sun and the moon, and the people were scared to death!

However, the fire dog couldn’t stop!  The sun and moon had mixed in stomach and he began vomiting pieces of the the sun and the moon he had bit off!  He vomited and vomited and vomited!  He couldn’t stop!  He was sending fire and light everywhere!  The people were scared to death of him, but he couldn’t stop!  He could burn everything in the town down if he didn’t stop!

The emperor had to banish him for the people’s safety.
The country remained in darkness.

Finally, the emperor made a decision.  He decided the only thing he could do was to banish the fire dog. The fire dog had to leave the land where everything was dark, and the land remained in darkness.  It was the first solar and lunar eclipses.

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